Story at a glance

  • If two-thirds of the 194-member assembly back the resolution, it will be put forward on Tuesday.
  • While the resolution doesn’t name China specifically, Beijing has come under great scrutiny for its role in the pandemic.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing supports a “comprehensive review of the global response to COVID-19 after it’s brought under control.”

More than 100 countries are supporting a draft resolution at the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) calling for an independent investigation into the origin and international health response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Guardian

The resolution led by Australia and the European Union (EU) calls for a review into the origins and spread of the COVID-19 outbreak and has the support of at least 120 countries. If two-thirds of the 194-member assembly back the resolution — 129 countries — it will be put forward on Tuesday. The governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO) began the two-day virtual meeting Monday. 


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While the resolution doesn’t name China specifically, Beijing has come under great scrutiny for its role in the pandemic that has infected more than 4.7 million people and killed more than 315,000 since emerging out of Wuhan, China late last year. Several countries, including the United States, have accused China of suppressing information about the coronavirus early on in the outbreak. 

Speaking via video conference at the opening ceremony of the meeting this morning, Chinese President Xi Jinping defended China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, insisting Beijing has been open and transparent in providing information to the WHO and other countries. Xi did not specifically mention the draft resolution, but said China supports a review of the response to the pandemic. 

“China supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to COVID-19 after it is brought under control, to sum up our experience and address deficiencies,” he said. “This work should be led by science and professionalism, led by the WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner.”


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China for weeks had been opposing the proposal from Western countries to carry out an international investigation into the pandemic’s origins. 

Xi also said China will provide $2 billion over two years to the United Nations to aid the global response to the outbreak, and added that when a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available, it “will be made a global public good.” 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Monday vowed to launch an independent review “at the earliest appropriate moment,” into the agency's response to the pandemic. 

“We all have lessons to learn from the pandemic,” Tedros said Monday. “Every country and every organization must examine its response and learn from its experience. WHO is committed to transparency, accountability and continuous improvement.”


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Published on May 18, 2020